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Mending the Political System

The local elections held in May 2019 rather predictably saw not just the Conservatives but also Labour lose large numbers of Councillors across the UK as a protest against the failure to deliver Brexit and also as a demonstration of the way in which politicians are now seen by huge numbers of ordinary people – a self-serving superior few, completely divorced from the reality of everyday life. Politicians are believed to no longer represent the people who elected them. Many voters tend to be less selective about who runs their city or town, leaning towards the view that it doesn’t matter too much from the political party point of view who is nominally in charge. It is council employees, these days headed by a usually impressively-paid Chief Executive Officer that actually gets things done (or not, as the case may be).

Up to a point this is true, but only up to a point. What is undoubtedly true is that regardless of which party holds control in the council chamber, too many areas around the country no longer have the levels of service that used to be the norm. Weekly waste collections are becoming more rare; potholed roads less so. Street lights are being turned off, libraries closed and among so many other things and most noticeably, care for more mature members of society is, has, become more savage as the elderly are treated with a remorseless and ever-increasing shabbiness – as if the message from politicians, both locally and nationally, is to consider the old a nuisance, a burden to be got rid of at the earliest possible opportunity.

Why the apparent desire to cull anybody over a certain age, where did it come from? I have provided an answer to this in my book, ‘Comments of a Common Man’, available from Amazon for just £9.99. Perhaps (if you haven’t already) you should buy it, read it and then think about it, as I make my observations on a number of aspects to life (including the NHS) that concern ordinary people around the UK, aspects that politicians seem to ignore. If they don’t ignore them, the usual response is to throw more taxpayer’s money at them, while seeking a good newspaper headline – the politician’s holy grail; ‘We must do something! Look! This is something…let’s do that! Especially since it will look good in tomorrow’s papers!’

In 2016 I published a book on Heathrow Airport and three years on the story needs updating, so a much-rewritten, revised and updated second edition is now due. In this, one of my revisions covers this very point. My new book on the airport contains the following comment:

'Politics and politicians are not everybody’s favourite flavour. One of the reasons is the propensity of those involved to do not what is right but what makes them look good at the time. No matter what others may then have to do later—every politician lives for the here and the now. It has always been the task of successors the next day to deal with the decisions of the day before.'

The new edition of the book is scheduled to be out in September 2019 and those who find social history and the political manoeuvring that surrounds everyday life may well find the book of interest; you don’t necessarily have to be interested in airports per se, but the story behind Heathrow mirrors the things that concern us in so many other areas of life, including Brexit and the behaviour of politicians generally. What will upset some people is my call in the book for two new runways and not just one – I make the point not to be provocative but because I believe two to be necessary. News of the publication will be carried here on KJM Today so do keep an eye out for it, as you perhaps should also for new edition of ‘Comments’, referred to above. Even though there has been two editions already, such is the pace of political life that an updated third version is needed, particularly where Brexit is concerned.

This of course, is where we came in.

The deeds and misdeeds of those we elect are actually quite well-established but have be